The History Channel launched its three-part take on our founding fathers with “Sons of Liberty.” Touting the Rolling Stones’ “Painted Black” as its theme song along with a score from Hans Zimmer, SOL shows that it has significant backing behind it. The Samuel Adams brewing company filled in most commercial space in breaks between programming.
SOL is not a run of the mill history feature. Ben Barnes, a relatively unknown actor, takes the lead role as Sam Adams. Dean Norris portrays a very intense Ben Franklin and Henry Thomas is John Adams in a supporting role. Rafe Spall brings a lot to John Hancock, and Morton Csokas does what he does best as the brutal General Gage. The direction is subtle at the acting level as with Csokas’ disdain for the colonists as Gage.
Events begin with Adams and Hancock. One is hounded by British soldiers while the other hobnobs with aristocrats. One operates from a standpoint of opportunity while the other from anger. In the end, the American Revolution begins when a group of intellectuals and a military man of might band together and take what has already been started by a rabble-rouser and a smuggler and expound upon it.
Part one leads the viewer through the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre and delivers detailed insight into how these events culminated.
General Gage portrays the inedible military action from Great Britain and in the second episode makes a hard point to the city of Boston. Circumstances branching out from Gage’s actions cause the founding fathers to band closer together and look past their own differences. In the final episode, General George Washington steps forward to meet the mounting aggression of the British army and navy and the remaining men, Hancock, Franklin, and the two Adams cousins amongst others draft the document that birthed the United States.